Saved to Serve

Saved to Serve

One of the most sanctifying parts of discipleship is serving.  Serving can come in many different forms.  It can mean cutting someone's grass, visiting someone that's lonely, giving someone your clothes, or even training someone how to do something.  As Christians we exist to serve.  

Christ was the exact representation of God Almighty (Heb 1:3 and Col 1:15).  He came to serve (Matt 20:28).  He set the example for those that would place their faith in Him for salvation (Phil 2:1-11).  Therefore, you could absolutely say "We have been saved to serve."  

Now as I make this statement, there are two types of people that will respond in two very different ways.  The first person will give an "amen" and be filled with great joy.  The other will will respond with reluctance.  The reason for the the two different responses is that one person truly believes Jesus, when He said "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).  While the other person remains hesitant and unwilling in their unbelief.  

If we want to be a church where Jesus is at the center then serving must be at the top of our priority list, not on the "If I don't have anything else going on" list.  

In this blog you will see our new "Needs" board.  This is hanging in the hallway outside the elevator.  I pray that you will begin taking time and finding out the needs of others, so we as a church family can meet those needs.  I know that we have many D-Life groups as well as Sunday School classes that are looking to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Now we just need to find out the needs.  

 

"When we confess we begin to heal" by Rick Warren

"When we confess we begin to heal" by Rick Warren

“Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16a TLB).

The first step in forgiveness is admitting your guilt. Then, you have to accept responsibility for your sin.

What’s the best way to ensure that you are really accepting responsibility for your sin? You’re not going to like the answer, but you need to hear it anyway: The best way to get over your guilt is to tell one other person who loves you unconditionally and who will listen and not judge you.

This is important: You don’t have to confess to another person to be forgiven. All you have to do is confess your sin to God, and you’ll be forgiven. But many of you have already been forgiven, and you still feel guilty. If you want to be forgiven, you tell God. If you want to feel forgiven, you’ve got to tell one other person. That’s the way God wired it. Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing. We only get well in community! You don’t have to tell a bunch of people. You really only need to tell one person. If your sin is between you and another person, you go to that person.

James 5:16 says, “Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (TLB). It doesn’t say “so that you may be forgiven” but so that you may be healed. Forgiveness comes from God. Healing comes in relationships.

So why do you need to drag another person into your own personal sin?

Because the root of all of our problems is relational. We are dishonest with each other. We play games with each other. We wear masks all the time. We fake it. We pretend to have it all together when everybody knows we don’t have it all together. We’re all broken.

There are only two kinds of people in the world: people who are broken and sinful and know it and people who are broken and sinful and won’t admit it. When we refuse to be real with each other, it creates all kinds of fears in our lives and isolates us from each other. It is a roadblock to intimacy, and it creates insecurity.

God wired us to need each other. You need a friend who’s going to love you unconditionally and won’t think less of you when you share your guilt. If you’re not in a small group, you probably don’t know anybody like that. If you’re in a small group, you need to find one person you can share your heart with.

What Binds the Hands of Love?  By John Piper

What Binds the Hands of Love?  By John Piper

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. (Colossians 1:3–5)

The problem with the church today is not that there are too many people who are passionately in love with heaven. The problem is not that professing Christians are retreating from the world, spending half their days reading Scripture and the other half singing about their pleasures in God all the while indifferent to the needs of the world.

The problem is that professing Christians are spending ten minutes reading Scripture and then half their day making money and the other half enjoying and repairing what they spend it on.

It is not heavenly-mindedness that hinders love. It is worldly-mindedness that hinders love, even when it is disguised by a religious routine on the weekend.

Where is the person whose heart is so passionately in love with the promised glory of heaven that he feels like an exile and a sojourner on the earth? Where is the person who has so tasted the beauty of the age to come that the diamonds of the world look like marbles, and the entertainment of the world is empty, and the moral causes of the world are too small because they have no view to eternity? Where is this person?

He is not in bondage to the Internet or eating or sleeping or drinking or partying or fishing or sailing or putzing around. He is a free man in a foreign land. And his one question is this: How can I maximize my enjoyment of God for all eternity while I am an exile on this earth? And his answer is always the same: by doing the labors of love.

Only one thing satisfies the heart whose treasure is in heaven: doing the works of heaven. And heaven is a world of love!

It is not the cords of heaven that bind the hands of love. It is the love of money and leisure and comfort and praise — these are the cords that bind the hands of love. And the power to sever these cords is Christian hope.

I say it again with all the conviction that lies within me: it is not heavenly-mindedness that hinders love on this earth. It is worldly-mindedness. And therefore the great fountain of love is the powerful, freeing confidence of Christian hope.

Excerpt from "The Fruit of Hope: Love"

Battling Unbelief Together by John Piper

Battling Unbelief Together by John Piper

A sermon from John Piper about the importance of Accountability in a small group setting. 

http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/battling-unbelief-together

RUN! by Cory Hughes

RUN! by Cory Hughes

When I played basketball in high school, I always had in mind the kind of player I wanted to be.  Of course, this player was Michael Jordan.  I would watch him play and try the stuff that he did on the basketball court.  I remember even hanging my tongue out of my mouth while I played, thinking that it gave me more swagger. Jordan made me desire to work harder, push further, and win more because of the example he set on the basketball court.  He made me want to compete.  

Now if something like basketball can have that kind of effect on a young persons life, shouldn't following Jesus be able to have so much more of an effect?  So why doesn't it?  

While I think there are many answers to this question, I want to focus on just one.  I believe that following Jesus is not captivating young people's hearts over things like sports, art, or business because there is a tremendous lack of good models.  It is saddening that students even in the church can't find people that are all out, passionately pursuing Jesus with every ounce of themselves.  Where are the Michael Jordans for Jesus?  Following Jesus has become more like a laid back way of life, that looks like doing the right things and not the wrong things, treating people fairly, or serving food at the next church fellowship.  Don't get me wrong those things are admirable and need to be done, but isn't Jesus calling us to more? 

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Follow me as I follow the example of Christ."  We all need people like Paul in our life... people who we strain to be more like when it comes to their pursuit of Jesus.  The world has endless options for models in just about anything you want to do.  This is where the church is desperately lacking.  

Two questions to end this blog.  Who is currently challenging you in your pursuit of Christ?  If you don't have someone then I would encourage you to find a "Jordan" that pushes you to be way more than you are capable of.  Secondly, would your current pursuit of Christ be considered challenging to anyone?

I pray that you would be challenged to pursue Christ relentlessly.  We don't have long on this earth so make every moment count.  Hopefully the video below will help get you started.  

Some Thoughts on Ministry by Cory Hughes

Some Thoughts on Ministry by Cory Hughes

Ministry (The component of discipleship that seems hard to most groups)

 

“Ministry Projects…mm... It’s already that time again?  What in the world are we going to do this time?”  This could possibly be your thoughts if you’re like most D-groups.  I want to share a possible solution that might keep you from dreading ministry and instead make you passionate about it. 

 

Since starting D-Life we as a church have gotten a lot of ministry projects done.  The list from this past year is quite long and we praise God that He used us to accomplish so many projects.  However, my fear is that the projects we are doing are somewhat of “flashes in the pan.”  They are great but they have a beginning and end.  I believe there are a couple of reasons for this. 

 

First, most of our projects have been pretty generic.  Generic projects are good because everyone can be involved and they don’t require a special skill.  The negative of this is that no one will ever be extremely passionate about the ministry project.  We will do it because we understand our calling from Christ to be servants, but it won’t be something that we long to do. 

 

Secondly, I believe that while ministry outside the church is extremely important and it is where we see Jesus doing a lot of His ministry, I do think that it is inside the body of Christ that we will find our passions and spiritual gifting’s.  Think of the Church as somewhat of lab for believers to be poked, prodded, and discipled into understanding how they fit in the body of Christ.   

 

JD Greear says “Burnout happens not because of the amount you give, but because you are trying to give out of places that God hasn’t gifted you.”  What I believe that JD means by this quote is that God has uniquely gifted us to serve the body of Christ and this world in specific ways.  Take for example Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 12:14 “For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”  (Go back and read the whole chapter) 


Just as a body functions with thousands of moving parts that are completely vital, the Church should function in the same way.  The problem is, we don’t.  So, let’s begin.  In your D-group you are getting to know anywhere from 3-8 other people.  You are getting to know their relationship with the Lord, their family life, their inner longings and desires, as well as their sin struggles and insecurities.  So why not get to know what they are passionate about.  What makes them tick?  What do they love doing?  What gives them great joy? 

 

My caution here would be to make sure we go deeper than simply “I like to fish,” therefore, we go and begin a fishing ministry.  I’m not saying that would be a bad idea but I think there we need to think harder about what in us makes us like to fish.  God’s Word tells us that as believers, we have been gifted with the Holy Spirit, and He gives us unique gifts for the building up of the body (Ephesians 4).

 

So here is the bottom line, ministering in our giftedness will bring us joy and sanctification, it will bless others and build them up, and it will glorify God.  So we must begin doing this.  Now for the hard work.  How has God gifted you to minister within the body of Christ as well as outside the body? 

 

My encouragement would be to not only think about the different areas in the church to serve or the needs we have, but to think outside the box.  Do some research, spend some time in prayer and ask God to reveal what you need to be doing in order to function in your giftedness. 

 

I’ll end with a story.  Recently a man joined a church.  This church had a plethora of options when it came to serving.  However, this man felt very passionate about giving a couple of hours a week to cleaning the church’s toilets.  Even though he thought the church might not let him, he went and told leadership what he thought God had laid on his heart.  To his surprise the leadership encouraged him and thanked him for sharing with them.  They gave him a rundown of the areas that needed to be cleaned and showed him where the supplies were.  They told him that he would be joining a team of 8 other church members who had also felt led to clean toilets each week.  This man was blown away. 

 

There is no ministry in the church or outside the church that is too small or insignificant.  I’m praying that you will pass this on to your D-group and you would all begin to pray about how you could serve in your giftedness and passion.  

Testimony by Casey Farr

Testimony by Casey Farr

I’ve spent the last four years of my life angry and sad. Losing my father, depression following the twins birth, and multiple family issues was more than I could handle alone. I went to a dark and angry place. A lot of my time was spent chasing personal goals where I would find momentary security and happiness. They would bring fleeting moments of peace. I was trying to be a good person and did believe I was saved even though I wasn't experiencing a personal relationship with Christ. On the outside I was a decent person, but on the inside I was angry at God for not answering my prayers about saving my father and for my unhappiness. I wanted to be a better Christian, wife, and mother and was experiencing a lot of guilt about not doing enough for my family, for not showing enough love, and for not sharing myself enough. I was never enough and was exhausted trying to be my definition of enough. I even felt guilty about my lack of church involvement so I joined a D Life when asked. I had no idea at the time how that would change my life. During this time one of my group members started facing a similar struggle I had experienced. The difference was she was trusting God’s plan and leaned on Him for comfort. I watched her deal with the pain and stress and use it to glorify God. I will forever be grateful for her example.

Several months ago Stan started preaching on being justified through faith instead of works. I started reading more on my own and discussing in my D Life. I realized my lack of faith and my obsession with my own personal goals was a major source of my unhappiness. I became aware I wasn’t actually saved through faith, I was dead in my own trespasses and sins and trying to save myself. I surrendered my life, gave Him all my hurts, and started focusing on my Savior and not myself.

Setting aside time every day for worship, prayer, and devotion keeps me focused and I’m thankful for the accountability I find in my D Life. I still have a lot of selfish moments, but ultimately my goal has changed from a self serving hunt for happiness to a strong desire to share Christ’s love. While I’m not sure exactly how He will use us, I’m excited to see where He takes my family in the future. I know it won’t always be easy but that’s okay because there is freedom and peace in letting go and trusting in His will.

Worship plays such a huge part in my life I wanted to close with a verse from my favorite song:

There’s a calm that covers me When I kneel down at Your feet It’s a place of healing
It’s a place where I find freedom

There’s no one that can bring me peace
That can wash me clean
Like you Lord
There’s nothing in this world that can bring me peace You saved my soul. 

- Casey Farr